WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

South Sudan food crisis spreads

WelCom May 2017:

Crispin Anderlini –

Rosa Lyo prepares a meal from bitter weeds she has gathered near South Sudan’s capital, Juba. Photo: Caritas

Rosa Lyo lives just outside Juba, South Sudan’s capital. Even here the drought and conflict are taking a heavy toll. Like many of the country’s 4.9 million people impacted, Rosa struggles to find food. She travels an hour and a half each way just to find bitter weeds to eat – her main source of food.

The food crisis in South Sudan is spreading alongside the internal conflict. Marauding bands of unpaid soldiers are also looking to survive. By July, 5.5 million people (more than 40 per cent of the population) are expected to be in serious need. The number of people experiencing famine will have increased dramatically unless aid organisations can gain access to the most severely-affected communities.

Utilising its extensive church networks, Caritas continues to urgently respond across the country with food, shelter and household items for thousands of displaced people, hygiene kits to help avoid disease spreading, and medicine for the many Catholic clinics providing healthcare to communities.

Seeds and tools are being distributed to communities who have retained their land, to increase food security and self-sufficiency in the long term and restock empty markets so that displaced people can buy food at reasonable prices again.

A combined Caritas-ChildFund humanitarian response to the drought in Turkana, northern Kenya, is also underway. The coordinated response to the crisis in the region is focusing on emergency food and water aid to communities. MFAT has announced it will match funds (dollar for dollar) raised for Caritas’ emergency responses in Turkana, Kenya and South Sudan.

Donations made to the 2017 Bishops Lent Appeal will contribute to the responses in South Sudan and Kenya. Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand will be launching an appeal this month to raise funds for the ongoing humanitarian response in the Horn of Africa region.